During his daily news conference on Wednesday, March 25, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that eligible Canadian workers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic can now receive now receive $2,000 per month for four months from the federal government. The relief package was created after Ottawa merged the $10 billion Emergency Care Benefit with the $5 billion Emergency Support Benefit. Who’s eligible? Workers who have lost income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic can apply for this new fund (called the Canada Emergency Response Benefit or CERB), once the portal goes live online Monday, April 6. Those who qualify for assistance will begin to receive $2,000 per month for four months “within 10 days of the application” the federal government added. This benefit will be available to those who lost income but don’t qualify for Employment Insurance, according to Trudeau.
The CERB will also include Canadians who have lost their job, are ill, quarantined, or taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19. It also applies to working parents who must stay home without pay to care for children due to illness or school closures. Plus, workers who are still employed, but not receiving income as businesses figure out how to retain employees during this pandemic, will also qualify for this benefit. Qualifying workers include anyone who is at least 15 years old and who, in 2019 or in the 12-month period before they apply, had a total employment income of at least $5,000. The payments will, however, be taxable income – so there will be a $200 income-tax deduction for a final net monthly total of $1,800. Ottawa is expecting upwards of four million applications to be made via the new relief fund.